We are one month into our 10 year anniversary celebration 🎉
Our wish is to continue to share useful insights with you from our journey, with the hopes it will help you in yours. These last 10 years were constantly filled with learning moments, many of which came about through failures or mistakes we made along the way. One occasion which specifically comes to mind was our attempt to raise over $10,000 on Kickstarter. It was a pivotal moment for us, but one that was only possible through patience and perseverance.
Kickstarter is a global crowdfunding platform, designed to help bring creative projects to life. Persons around the world can support a project by providing funding through its online platform. In 2017, Bôhten put together a Kickstarter campaign to fund the Bôhten 5 collection and purchase essential prototyping and manufacturing equipment for our base in Accra, Ghana.
The campaign was significant for us in many ways. If we hit our financial goal, we would be able to make our first large order from our manufacturers. We would go from placing 10-15 product orders at a time to over 400. This is a monumental moment in itself for any small business as the risk factors are increased 10 fold. We would also be able to purchase key manufacturing and prototyping equipment for the Bôhten Hub in Accra, Ghana. It would bring us one step closer to our goal of creating more opportunities and development on the continent. We had a lot riding on this campaign. With all the efforts we put into it, it felt like a make or break moment in our company’s history.
But it failed.
At least the first time around. Nana K, one of Bôhten’s Co-founders spoke on what that was like, “The first time we did that, it failed. We had delusions of grandeur. We thought that just by putting it up, it would be successful.” The brothers worked tirelessly on the first campaign to ensure everything was set up and looked great online. Apparently, that wasn’t enough. But it did not stop them from trying again though.
Nana K stated that the team took a step back, reevaluated everything and after two weeks, relaunched their campaign. But this time, with a different approach. Instead of relying on the internet, they got personal. They created and sent out one on one messages to people in their circles, they gathered lists of names of persons to reach out to and did it. They got pledges ahead of time even before they relaunched as a way to gain momentum.
“The momentum in the first 24hrs is crucial.” - Nana K
They had to make sure everyone made their pledges at the same time at the launch of the kickstarter, as a way to generate buzz about the event. This eventually led to Kickstarter itself highlighting the campaign on its platform which helped to bring even more attention to the event.
“In the beginning, all the energy was focused on sounding and visually “looking good” and we spoke a lot about the rewards. We thought that was what we needed to get the campaign off the ground. But it was actually the preparation and the grassroots stuff that got the desired end results.” - Nana K.
The Bôhten brothers achieved their financial goal during their second attempt at the Kickstarter campaign.The Bôhten 5 collection was released and prototyping materials such as Bôhten’s 3D printer and other tools were purchased for the Hub in Accra. These all laid the foundation for a lot of the designs you see today, including our Duru collection released in 2022. It also didn’t stop there, as the brothers shared their story and advice with other Ghanaian creators such as Blitz Bazawule; Blitz had a Kickstarter campaign going at the same time Bôhten had theirs. His too was not as successful as he’d hoped, until the very end. The Bôhten brothers were connected with Blitz through a mutual friend and they shared some key moments which helped them the second time around for a successful campaign. Blitz quickly implemented some of the advice and by the end of his campaign, he surpassed his financial goal a few times over.
We share this story to highlight the importance of patience and perseverance when it comes to building a brand and a business. Failures and mistakes are guaranteed on the long and winding journey of entrepreneurship, but the benefits of persevering through will far outweigh the challenges. This wasn’t the last time we experienced obstacles like this and relied on perseverance to get us through. In the years to come we had many moments going back and forth with manufacturers while working to meet major deadlines with partners and it forced us to be patient and persevere no matter what. If you hit an obstacle along the way, we encourage you to take a step back and find another approach to tackle the problem.
Be persistent. Be patient, and persevere.